April 11, 2007


Some of you will have already heard of Turkey's attempt to shut-down a United Nations exhibit on genocide entitled "Lessons from Rwanda" that included a sentence regarding the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

After official Turkish protests, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon agreed to see to it that the "objectionable" reference be removed.

In dispute was the following sentence, "Following WWI, during which 1 million Armenians were murdered in Turkey, Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin urged the League of Nations to recognize crimes of barbarity as international crimes."

James Smith, the Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust, the exhibit's organizer, bravely refused to accede to the Secretary General's request.

“Had we been asked to remove reference of atrocities to Jews because Germany objected, we would have been equally resistant,” said Smith. “We can’t apply one rule to some and not to others because the political wind in the UN is blowing against the Armenians,” he said. Removing the sentence would amount to a “denial of elementary facts.”

Serj Tankian, activist and lead singer of the group System of a Down appears in the film "Screamers" which traces the history of genocide in the last century, starting with the Armenian Genocide.

Tankian had the following to say regarding the exhibit's closing..

“We are very shocked by this decision by the Secretary General to remove mention of a historical event which is well-documented by thousands of official records of the United States and nations around the world, including Turkey’s wartime allies, Germany, Austria and Hungary; by Ottoman court martial records; and by eyewitness accounts of missionaries, diplomats and survivors; as well as decades of historical scholarship. In the U.S., President Bush has called the events the ‘forced exile and annihilation of approximately 1.5 million Armenians.’

(See more regarding Screamers' reaction)


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